Cash-strapped Iranians deplore regime spending on foreign wars

'They are sending all our money to Syria': Cash-strapped Iranians deplore regime spending
2 min read
13 September, 2018
Unrest is brewing among Iranians as the toll of the regime's costly fixation with foreign conflicts has not gone unnoticed by the millions now struggling just to get by.
Discontent is brewing in Tehran's Grand Bazaar [Getty]
The thousands of shops in Tehran's sprawling Grand Bazaar have long been a gauge of the national mood in Iran. Its current gloom, as the economy continues to falter, may be a sign that even more disruptive unrest among the disgruntled population is on its way.

Although much anger is directed toward President Trump and the US as the punishing sanctions begin to take hold, shoppers and shopkeepers alike are vocal in blaming their own President Rouhani and his allies for their financial misery.

On top of the collapse of the Iranian riyal, a stream of corruption cases, rising inflation and a youth unemployment rate nearing 30 percent, means millions of once comfortably-off Iranians are struggling to afford basic goods in the market.

Therefore the global spectacle of the bloody war in Syria, in which the Iranian regime and its allied militias have pumped with cash to fight alongside Syria's Bashar al-Assad, for many Iranians rubs salt into the wound of their economic woes.

Vying for international influence, the Iranian regime is thought to spend billions of dollars funding Shia militias and some Sunni militants in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and the Palestinian territories.

We have done nothing wrong to deserve this, but they are sending all our money to Syria

During the recent wave of popular protests in Iran, demonstrators shouted slogans such as "Forget Palestine", and "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran".

"This is the people's money," one market goer told AP. "We have done nothing wrong to deserve this, but they are sending all our money to Syria."

The vocal discontent among Iran's lower and middle classes - who make up the vast majority of its population - shows the dangers ahead for the government of the relatively moderate Rouhani. 

The sporadic and leaderless protests the nation has seen over its worsening economy threaten to roar back to life at any time, and with a gloomy economic forecast, many expect the worst is yet to come.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab